Twinkle, twinkle tennis star!

Deccan Chronicle.  | Deepika Das

Sunday Chronicle, sportfolio

Former French Wimbledon champ, Marion Bartoli talks about her weight loss, her career as a jewellery designer and more.

Marion Bartoli

Having retired from professional tennis just 40 days after her Wimbledon win in 2013, former French star Marion Bartoli is sitting ‘sparkly’ in the confines of her new career as a jewellery designer.

It is a remarkable change for the Frenchwoman who admits she has battled with weight issues most of her life thanks to her sweet tooth and the stress of the circuit. She attributes her astonishing weight loss (around 15 kg) to a gluten-free diet, a healthier lifestyle and a new exercise regime.

“My body has adjusted to my new life. I pamper myself. Before, it was the opposite, I pushed my body 1,000 per cent. I now do lots of yoga, stretching, Pilates, and have lots of massages. I look after myself and I feel more at peace with my body,” said Bartoli, who now looks half her previous size.

For the 31-year-old, designing jewellery is similar to playing tennis as both are  “challenging, demanding and competitive” but tennis or coaching kids is not on her priority list for the coming years.

“I work 10 hours a day... it is impossible to take out time for coaching. I take my job very seriously. It is just who I am. If I do something, I do it 100 per cent, or I do not do it. If I go down to coaching, my fashion designing career will be finished. It is something I cannot even think of right now. Coaching is something I am not thinking about for at least the next two years,” said the fashionista.

Asked to compare whether she enjoyed life more as a jewellery designer or a player, pat comes the reply, “I love both. Tennis is the love of my life and to become a fashion designer was a dream. I did a graduate course from a reputed institution in Paris and learnt the nuances of becoming a successful designer. Designing is very demanding, challenging and very competitive and so all the elements of tennis come into play. It always feels great to present your creation and four days ago in New York, I felt the same adrenal rush displaying my creations when I entered the Wimbledon final in 2013.”

According to Bartoli, Russian beauty Maria Sharapova is the most stylish player on the circuit and wishes Serene Williams would endorse her jewellery in future. “My favourite is Maria Sharapova... she dresses so well. I also love Serena Williams, who always comes with some innovative ideas and dresses. Ana Ivanovic is another player who never fails to dress well and impress,” she reveals.

Bartoli loves spending time with family and friends, and never misses a chance to play tennis with her nephew and father to unwind. She also does yoga and cooking to take a break from her busy schedule.

“I start my day with yoga every morning. I have travelled the world all alone so being with family is a privilege for me. I love cooking, especially for my loved ones. Doing very simple things like cooking and washing cloths... Talking to my parents gives me immense joy,” Marion adds.

Currently a resident of Switzerland, Bartoli credits her new figure to yoga and a healthy lifestyle. “I don’t drink and don’t smoke... and sleep a lot. I do a lot stretches and exercises. I follow a very healthy lifestyle. When I am on vacation, I go to the spa... I just switch off my mobile and all gadgets and just relax,” says Bartoli, who has visited India quite a few times on business trips earlier, adding, “Any place which is near the sea and water are my favourite travel destinations. Corsica, a mountainous Mediterranean island in France is my hometown and very very special to me. We do barbeques on the beach with all my family members. It is great fun.”

Quick Bytes

About India: Fabulous. I love coming to India a lot for my jewellery stones, specially Jaipur.
Favourite dish: Chocolate cake
Funny moment in your career: Once I took two left feet shoes instead of a right, and I wore it and pretended it was normal.
Favourite travel destination: Corsica
If not a tennis player: I would be a fashion designer.
Prized possession: My family and friends.

Quick facts

Birthday: October 2, 1984
Birthplace: France
Age: 31 years
Birth Sign: Libra